ZABAR’S LAST JEWISH LOX-SLICER APPRECIATES SALMON’S SENSUAL SIDE

Screen Shot 2014-12-29 at 10.26.05 AMLen Berk, an 84-year-old certified public accountant, fell in love with lox-slicing late in life and is now the last Jewish lox-slicer working at Zabar’s. He’s also a kind of Zen poet of lox.

The Forward interviewed Berk and made a charming video of him, which we’ve posted below.

“I’ve been trying to make the perfect slice for about 16 years but I know I haven’t achieved it yet,” he says.

At times, his relationship with the salmon becomes a tad…inappropriate.

“I love running my hands across it. It’s a very sensual experience. You could say I’m making love to the salmon.”

He’s there every Thursday and Friday if you want to watch him “make love” to a salmon, and then you can take it home and eat it.

Lox Me Tender from Jewish Daily Forward on Vimeo.

FOOD, NEWS | 16 comments | permalink
    1. naro says:

      from tax cut to lox cut is a short distance

    2. Zabars Shopper says:

      I’m not sure I understand how it’s significant that he’s the last Jewish slicer. Is the Republic toppling? Are the new (and probably 100% minority) slicers not as good? Are they not as capable of poetic feelings and pride in their work?

      As a member of a minority group whose family spent a lot of money at Zabars this past holiday season, I’m uncomfortable with the unstated assumptions of this article. And yes, I’m well aware of Zabars’ history.

      • Thin Nova says:

        It’s significant because the nova at Zabar’s is traditionally a Jewish foodstuff. The same way it’s interesting that Absolute Bagel is run by Koreans, and Rigoletto used to serve amazing Italian-style pizza made by Mexicans. All done well, yet mildly surprising. There’s an extra note of authenticity that creates a subtle shift (psychological or otherwise) as the cuisine becomes less specific to its origins.

        • Richard says:

          Absolute Bagels is run by Thai’s. Just saying, but then all Asian look alike right?
          And their bagels are better than those made by my Jewish father when he owned a bagel store (sorry Dad, but it’s true).

        • RK says:

          I think Rigoletto was run by Argentinians.

      • zeus says:

        You have to develop a thicker skin my friend.
        It’s Zabars after all.
        It’s basically a Jewish Deli gone Mega.
        No need to feel slighted, insulted or left out.
        As the saying goes…
        If you can’t stand the heat – get out of the kitchen.

        Happy New Year one and all.

    3. Eric says:

      As the son and grandson of die-hard Queens appetizing store owners, and having made more trips out to Connie Spizz at Rego Smoked fish than I care to remember, I never pass up the opportunity for a ‘teachable moment’ where lox is concerned.

      What Len is seen slicing is (Zabar’s very delicious) Nova … cold smoked salmon with a delicate flavor.
      Zabar’s sells so little (belly) Lox … pale brined salmon with a salty flavor … that the wise men behind the counter (Jewish or no) will protect you if you ask for Lox by replying “salty lox?” (After all, who wants the customer to be unhappy after they just spent $15/quarter lb.)

      So don’t be a rube … ask for Nova if that’s what you like … and Belly Lox if you’re picking up for me.

      Now if they would only get some sturgeon or chubbs in …

    4. Siddhartha V. says:

      I’ve always preferred Murray’s to Zabar’s when it came to the fish

      • Sam says:

        Agreed and they have no Jewish cutters there. Their cutters are like surgeons, removing any and all off colored pieces before weighing your fish.

        Love Murrays!

    5. Independent says:

      He’s there every Thursday and Friday if you want to watch him “make love” to a salmon, and then you can take it home and eat it.

      What a lovely image…

      But I think I’ll take a pass. Thanks.

    6. webot says:

      Great Video Len!

      Keep on going!

      and haters gonna hate hate hate.

      just ignore.

    7. Independent says:

      I find the risqué theme gratuitous and distasteful, in addition to just plain witless. (Not that I’m above enjoying occasional risqué wit where it’s appropriate and is actually wit.)
      I cannot be the only one.

      I thought this was a family-friendly site.

    8. Nj says:

      I agree with ” independent”
      Not the only one who doesn’t like
      distasteful spin on slicing lox. Will pass.